After King of Pop megastar Michael Jackson re-invented, transcended and set the blueprint for the modern-day cinematic music video, it was hard to get back to basics. Recording artists influenced by the offbeat megastar gloved one, began to take art and the art of boogie-woogie and juxtapose the two on celluloid pictures. The consequence of his action, transformed the way we saw dance and performance art on screen. Dancers and other fanatics flocked to the nearest TV to see the latest Michael Jackson chart topper debut on MTV and other media outlets. His James Brown twirls and Bob Fosse-inspired jazz moves excited the globe. The following day, disadvantaged dancers would run off to abandoned factories, the space in their bedrooms, or take to the streets to perfect his moves. But the dancers who could afford to find a space more “suitable” to bust a move would pack studios across the world.
In honor of those dancers near and far, here is a list of some of our favorite dance party music videos that were filmed in dance studios.
“The Pleasure Principle” by Janet Jackson
From the moment her finger hit the light switch to her decadent garage dance loft, we saw Mike’s fresh-faced baby sister pick herself up from the bootstraps and emerge a full-fledged woman. Janet Jackson was in full “control” on the sixth single from her 1986 pop milestone and we were smitten by her moxie. The clip featuring Miss. Jackson-if-you’re-nasty rocking out on a microphone, cascading in a ballet dive from a chair, pre-vogue breakin’ in front of a shattered mirror and executing a perfect back flip front off the roof of a vehicle—without breaking a sweat—brought a tear to our eyes and inspired R&B movers Aaliyah, Mýa and Ciara to become reigning pop divas. The independent woman roar is single-handedly responsible for every thing afterwards, so its okay blame Janet for Destiny’s Child’s feminist themes.
“If It Isn’t Love” by New Edition
No longer boys and now budding young men, the kids that grew up in front of the flash of paparazzi shutterbugs, showed us their “heart break” and growing pains in 1988. Teaming up with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, who were the masterminds behind Janet Jackson’s Control, “U Remind Me” by Usher and “Human” by the Human League, the boys left their candy-eyed teenyboppers days for a more sultry sound with enough dance oomph to boot. The result was one of the best dance studio videos of all-time, featuring a bunch of young men growing up before our eyes. There are so many eureka moments, especially when Ralph Tresvant does the mock J5 breakdown with the boys. Tight choreography aside, the cameo from Yo! MTV Raps host Fab Five Freddy is more than enough to watch.
“Cold-Hearted Snake” by Paula Abdul
Former Lakers girl turned dance pop icon Paula Abdul’s 1988 debut Forever Your Girl was an open letter where she left her A-list choreographer days to become the stars she worked with. Gone were her days of working in the background, it was time to step into the limelight. With four consecutive No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the future American Idol alum’s sweet-wise jabs and lush New Jack Swing blend as brilliantly executed in “Cold Hearted Snake” shows Abdul doing her best cabaret mime. David Fincher (of Se7en fame) directs this Bob Fosse inspired All That Jazz erotica burlesque clip that swoops and soars with the best of ‘em.
“Buttons” by Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg
Sleaze doesn’t quite describe the naughty thoughts teen boys had around the globe. Full of James Bond spyglass spotlights, phoenix fireball drenched floors and all of the skinemax come-ons one could muster, this electro-pop wonderland of lust oozed sex. The sepia-tinged lights hitting soaked flesh, the suggestive skintight dresses, the hair tossing, the chair cabaret, and spread eagle legs… makes for one great video. Snoop Dogg is one luck fella.
“Promise” by Ciara
The ATL crunk&B princess was Lil’ John’s protégé no longer. She started accepting her longevity and her potential to be the go-to dance-pop sweetheart. She gave up her addiction to b-boy snap-and-slap club bangers, let the honey blonde dye bleed from the aerosol bottle and into the drain, found her swag and opted for a more grown-and-sexy sound. Man, did it work! The titillating, nice & slow baby-making slow jam, with its synth-heavy 80s R&B wall of sound divvied up the goods. Add a video with Ciara grinding on a gravity defying microphone, a sultry dance on a chair and one out-of-the-world wall dance and you’ve got yourself a show.
“Glad” by Jennifer Lopez
Oh, no she didn’t! Yes… yes, she did. Jennifer Lopez crawled through the tiny crevice of Latino visibility in music and burrowed herself into the eyes of people everywhere. After the former Fly Girl decided she was invincible, she tapped David LaChappelle to direct, and produced one of the most extraordinary dance videos of all-time. The homage to Flashdance and some never-before-seen dances from Mrs. J.Lo, made us foam at the mouth with excitement and turned us on to crowning her the biggest sex symbol of the noughties.
“Me & U” by Cassie
Diddy’s Bad Boy flame was always the good girl next door and the model-turned-singer was no made no exception when she released her first single “Me +U.” The video, featuring the soubrette warming up before an impromptu dance routine on a chair and table top was sexy… and while, we saw it all before, we fell in love.
“Here It Goes Again” by Ok Go
Rock music videos were starting to become a nuisance in 2006, and then the unexpected happened: Good music videos were being made. In a surprising DIY fashion, alt rock band OK Go surprised crowds everywhere with their lovely breakthrough single “A Million Ways.” They needed to top the video that went viral, so they decided to do one better and add in the impossible by signing their lives away on treadmills. Shot in a dance studio, this is probably the riskiest music video ever shot. And they make it look so easy.
“Who’s My Bitch” by Paradiso Girls
Despite the trashy Auto-Tune intro via Carmen’s “Habanera,” the international expo spin-off of The Pussycat Dolls, the brat doll vocals combined with typical electro-thumping PCD backbeats and cabaret dances, these girls owned! With a standard bootylicious dances in a dance studio, these girls cracked the whip and turned out a naughty video especially with those biker sex pig lingerie pieces.
Here Are Some of our other all-time faves!
“Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears
Britney Spears: the name is synonymous with a bunch of guilty pleasures we’re both delighted and ashamed to admit. Listed as one of the most controversial music videos of all-time due to her age and the spur-of-the-moment orgy, we just sat back and accepted it as a bubblegum-pop machine gone terribly awry. However, the N.E.R.D. production had us backing it up in the club.
“Hung Up” by Madonna
Okay, we can all admit that Madonna is not what she used to be. Her 80s-and-90s pop classics are not at all being challenged today in quality and her tired disco sound is a mafic fromage meltdown. But this rocked our socks off. The Saturday Night Fever glitz meets Xanadu magic meets urban b-boy decay of Rize was a delicious soufflé of house-disco we never grew tired of. The 50-year-old singer also was in the best shape of her life, which made for a sexy video.
“What A Girl Wants” by Christina Aguilera
Before her hell cat goth girl gone bad days, Christina Aguilera was a big voiced pop tart trying her best to become her current status as the princess Adult Contemporary music. The postmodern pop princess filmed one of her biggest hits in the same space as Paula Abdul’s big hit “Cold-Hearted Snake” and introduced us to the new face of “good” music.
“Let Me Love You” by Mario
One of the biggest panty droppers of the noughties, Mario left his freewheeling teenybopper swagger days and decided to slow things down and a bit with this R&B slow groove. Dancing in a graffiti-riddled studio complete with the sweets white threads, we saw a young boy turn into a man before our eyes.
“There It Is” by Ginuwine
We could never understand why Ginuwine couldn’t just call himself genuine, but this was one of the most genuine he came across in years. This crooning gale force wind of wails is what made him the famed slow jam prince we’ve love come to love. Performing in the same studio with his band mates and then the sultry sex romp with his vamp backup dancers, Ginuwine proved he wasn’t just another R Kelly wannabe.
“Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyoncé Knowles
On principle, there shouldn’t be any excuse for anyone to have missed this B&W Bob Fosse inspired clip that features Beyoncé and the girls J-Setting, was this generation’s “Vogue.” Doing it all in a white dance studio, these three women kicked it like no body else.
“Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson
Despite superstar singers Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, George Michael and Madonna heating up the charts the way they were heating up the dancefloor, there was no one out there that really catered to the club scene, not like Janet Jackson. Off of her landmark Rhythm Nation 1814, Janet crushed the competition for the crown of the queen of dance music with her riveting New Jack Swing single “Miss You Much.” And the chair dance? Epic.
“Like A Boy” by Ciara
The crunk goddess kept the sexy coming with her follow-up to “Promise.” With a wind-gushing post-apocalyptic sound and a synth-powered orchestral stringed out hip-hop funk, she took the world by storm. The Victor Victoria boy-girl dress-up astounded us and blew all of her boy peers out of the water. The back-up dancers were just an added bonus.
“Beep” by Pussycat Dolls
Okay, so… pretty much, if you’ve heard one song by Pussycat Dolls, you’ve hear them all. “Beep” was nonetheless clever and the Bowflex-esque clip featuring Will.I.Am wasn’t bad either.
“Say Goodbye” by Chris Brown
Before that terrible night that turned the boy next door into a vicious brute, Chris Brown was the epitome of pop cool and was a role model to the kids. With a promising career, aging out of tween tunes and rolling out adult contemporary hits, he decided to slow it down with on for his fourth single “Say Goodbye.” A career highlight, the video features one excellent jazz ballet dance between Brown, his former flame and his new love interest.
“Don’t Tell Me” by Madonna
Okay, so Madonna (and her team) are kind of pop geniuses when they want to be. This Jean-Baptiste Mondino directed classic from her infinitive Music album was no exception. Threads by Dsquared2? Check. Kick-ass cowboy swag. Check. Automated walk-way dancing in front of silver screen back-up dancers? Awesome.